Generations who grew up in cookie-cutter houses can see the splendor of Mesa's historic homes Saturday, in a tour that showcases architecture and lifestyles that we have come to romance.
Yet the tour will also reveal how even our ho-hum modern homes have some amenities that exceed even the fanciest houses of a century ago.
"You get a sense of how different the houses are, how much smaller they are than what we're used to - small bathrooms and small closets," said Alice Jung, a volunteer with the Mesa Historical Museum. "It was a different world."
The public can see 15 of these properties during the 10th annual Mesa Historic Home Tour. The homes range from an 1896 Victorian called the Sirrine House to a 1949 ranch home built for Lester and Alma Kuck.
This is the first year the Kuck House has been open to the public. It will be shown by the Kucks' daughter and current homeowner, Audrey McClure. She grew up in the home and said it's changed little over the years. The home was built by her father, who owned a lumber business.
"The appeal of the house is the craftsmanship and the wood," McClure said.
Other homes on the tour were owned by people who ran prominent businesses.
The Goodman House was home to the family that ran Apache Drug on Main Street, and Clara Goodman was Arizona's first female pharmacist. It's still in the family.
The homes are in good shape - with one notable exception, Jung said. One house is awaiting restoration after being moved into the area and features Pepto Bismol-pink walls, ceilings and cabinets.
"It's going to be a unique chance to see how much work it takes to get these houses into shape," Jung said.
One home dates to the federal government's efforts to encourage home ownership after the Great Depression. The Mitten House was built in 1936 to demonstrate that people could buy a nice home for $50 a month rather than rent property. The home was funded by the Federal Housing Administration and by Mesa Journal Tribune owner Charles Mitten. It is now a law office.
The tour homes are within downtown's historic districts. Those who buy the $15 ticket also get admission to the Mesa Historical Museum, 2345 N. Horne.